In view of the new coronavirus mutation Omikron, Austria is trying bring around 200 registered Austrians home from vacations in southern Africa. As the spokeswoman for Foreign Minister Michael Linhart of the center-right Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) said to APA on Monday, Austria is not chartering its own flight. Austrians willing to return would have the opportunity to fly with German Lufthansa this week. The Dutch airline KLM also takes Austrians.
Linhart on Saturday urged Austrian travelers in southern Africa to return home – including Austrian residents. “The situation is noticeably coming to a head, more and more airports in Europe are blocking flights from South Africa and the other affected countries. I urgently appeal to Austrians to come home before it is no longer possible,” said the Foreign Minister in a statement.
Last Friday, Austria classified South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, and Eswatini as virus variant areas and fundamentally prohibited entry from these countries. The amendment took effect at midnight. There is also a landing ban. At the same time, the Foreign Ministry issued a travel warning (level 6) for these seven African countries.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will also send a call to those registered travelers who have returned from one of the countries concerned in the past few weeks to get a PCR test, the Foreign Office said. AGES has set up the hotline 01/2675032 for those returning from southern Africa. Contact details and information on travel activities can also be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to the Foreign Ministry, 4,400 Austrians also live in the seven countries, most of them in South Africa.
Reported in cooperation with the Austrian Press Agency / APA.